Police were investigating an act of racist vandalism in the city of Yokne’am on Wednesday after a Druze dentist reported that the walls of his office had been spray-painted with racist slogans.
The graffiti read “Death to Arabs” and “price tag.” The police did not initially identify any suspects.
It was the second attack in three weeks targeting the office of Dr. Khatem Hatar, who hails from the Mas’ade village in the Golan Heights. In the previous incident, vandals spray-painted the words “price tag” and a Star of David on the walls. Police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects in connection with the first attack.
“Nobody will break me and nobody will force me out, because we all live in peace: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze — all of us,” he said, according to Channel 10.
Responding to the wave of hate-fueled vandalism, Livni said she planned to convene a meeting Wednesday with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on the issue of “price tag” attacks, vowing that violence against “the army and the military” would be dealt with “harshly and severely.”
Livni added, however, that punishing the perpetrators of hate crimes or being shocked by their actions was not enough. Instead, she said, Israelis who wish to live in a “Jewish, democratic, sane country that is in sync with the world” must erect a “strong public and political Zionist fence” against those who wish to thwart a peace agreement with the Palestinians and hurt Israel’s image abroad.
“Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes usually carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists in retaliation for government policies against the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years. The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
Israel took heavy criticism in a recent US State Department report over its inability or unwillingness to prosecute price tag perpetrators.
The vandalism in Yokne’am was the latest in a spate of attacks in the north. Last week alone, several mosques were vandalized and dozens of cars were found with slashed tires in several northern Arab-Israeli towns.
On Sunday, a vehicle in Yokne’am belonging to a building contractor from Kafr Kanna was found with its tires slashed and “price tag” written in marker along the body. According to Ynet, the vehicle had been targeted in a similar attack in the past.
Several Arab contractors had their tires slashed last week in the city.
Last Friday, thousands gathered in the Arab town of Fureidis — which was hit with a similar attack last week – to listen to a sermon by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Salah asserted that the identities of the “price tag” perpetrators were known to police and accused law enforcement officials of failing to act against them.
“We will not take this quietly and don’t test the wrath of Muslims,” Salah said to what Channel 10 reported were around 4,000 people. “Those who play with fire will get burned.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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